What happens at a Social Benefits Tribunal ODSP appeal?

Long delays for appeal hearings

If you're appealing a decision made by OW or ODSP in 2020, your appeal hearing may not happen for a long time. People report that they're getting hearing dates from the that are between 9 and 16 months in the future. We'll update this information as things change.

A hearing at the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) isn't as formal as a court hearing. But there are rules about the hearing and about how the SBT is supposed to make its decision.

It's important to get help from a community legal clinic so you know the rules and what you have to do.

A community legal clinic may also be able to represent you at your hearing.

An SBT hearing is private, which is different from the courts, where usually anyone can go and watch.

Who’s at the hearing from the SBT and ODSP

There's always at least one person from the SBT at the hearing. This person is called a “member”.

The SBT member is in charge of the hearing and makes the decision about your appeal.

The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) can send a Case Presenting Officer to the hearing. They can:

  • question you and any other witnesses
  • say why the SBT should not change the decision made by the or your local ODSP office

How the hearing begins

The member begins the hearing by:

  • saying who they are
  • asking for the names of everyone at the hearing
  • explaining what will happen
  • checking if the SBT has the correct address to send you the decision
  • making sure that they have all the documents that you and ODSP filed before the hearing

Filing documents means giving them to the SBT, following the rules about how to do this.

There may be things that the member has to decide at the beginning of the hearing, such as whether the hearing should take place at a later date.

If you miss your hearing

If you can't get to your hearing or get there late, the member might decide your appeal without you being there.

So, if you have an emergency and can't get to your hearing on time, call the SBT at 1-888-256-6758.

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